‘Live up to your words’, Yoorrook Justice Commission tells Vic premier

Samantha Parker By Samantha Parker Jun18,2024
Victoria’s Premier Jacinta Allen presented evidence to the Yoorrook Justice Commission, making her the first premier to present evidence at an Indigenous truth-telling inquiry in Australia.
While Yoorrook chair Eleanor Bourke welcomed the premiers evidence as historic, she said the premier must follow through on her words.

“Premier as we move forward, we must move beyond words… we do not want to be talking about the failure of this commission in 30 years’ time,” professor Bourke told the premier.

“Premier your evidence must come and lead to real change for our people.
“First Peoples have faced a long history of being let down by successive governments and their leaders.

“Broken promises, unfulfilled commitments and apologies followed by inertia.”

YOORROOK JUSTICE COMMISSION VICTORIA

Commissioner Travis Lovett presented the premier with a message stick during a smoking ceremony ahead of the hearing of the Yoorrook Justice Commission. Credit: AAP Image/Diego Fedele Source: AAP / DIEGO FEDELE/AAPIMAGE

In her witness statement at the inquiry, the premier said she is prepared to make a formal apology to Aboriginal people in Victoria ‘at an appropriate time’.

“To move forward as a society, and to mend wrongs and heal wounds, the state needs to publicly reckon with its role in perpetrating injustice,” the statement read.
The premier also said she is ashamed and distressed by how little she knew of the massacres of First Nations people by colonial settlers.

“I did not know of the massacres I’m ashamed to say, I have learnt about the size and scale of the murders and the massacres through my preparation for my appearance today,” Ms Allen told the inquiry.

The Premier also reiterated her support for the treaty process, insisting it has been a priority of her government since the beginning of her term.
“I wanted to make it very clear on my very first opportunity as premier in September of last year to make it absolutely clear that I had that ongoing commitment and determination to work with First Peoples to achieve treaty,” she said.
The Victorian government has accepted 28 of 46 of the Yoorrook Commission’s recommendations and is considering 15 more.
Three recommendations around increasing the legal age of criminal liability to 14 and the minimum age of detention to 16, changing bail laws to reduce deaths in custody, and changes to the Charter of Human Rights were rejected.

Yoorrook is expected to deliver its final report by mid-2025.

Samantha Parker

By Samantha Parker

Samantha is a seasoned journalist with a passion for uncovering the truth behind the headlines. With years of experience in investigative reporting, she has covered a wide range of topics including politics, crime, and entertainment. Her in-depth analysis and commitment to factual accuracy make her a respected voice in the field of journalism.

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2 thoughts on “‘Live up to your words’, Yoorrook Justice Commission tells Vic premier”
  1. As a citizen, I believe it is crucial for the Premier to not just make promises but to actively implement real change. It is time to break the cycle of broken commitments and ensure accountability for the future.

  2. Does the premier have any concrete plans to implement the changes she is talking about, or are these just empty promises?

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